Renee Cox (born October 16, 1960) is a Jamaican-American artist, photographer, lecturer, political activist and curator. Her work is considered part of the feminist art movement in the United States. Some of the best known of her provocative works are Queen Nanny of the Maroons, Raje and Yo Mama’s Last Supper, which exemplify her Black Feminist politic. In addition, her work has provoked conversations at the intersections of cultural work, activism, gender, and African Studies. As a specialist in film and digital portraiture, Cox uses light, form, digital technology, and her own signature style to capture the identities and beauty within her subjects and herself.
Cox has “dedicated her career to deconstructing stereotypes and to reconfiguring the black woman’s body, using her nude form as a subject.” She uses herself as a primary model in order to promote an idea of “self-love” as articulated by bell hooks in her book Sisters of the Yam, because as Cox writes in an artist’s statement, “slavery stripped black men and women of their dignity and identity and that history continues to have an adverse affect [sic] on the African American psyche.” One of Cox’s main motivations has always been to create new, positive visual representations of African Americans. In her article, “A Gynocentric Aesthetic”, Cox argues that a shift to matriarchal art will transform aesthetic expressions to interact with daily life and society, rather than compartmentalized artistic discussions that emphasize beauty over process and expression.